Northeast Ohio Schools React After Learning of Nurse's Visit to Region Before Ebola Diagnosis
Update 2:04 p.m.:
Judith A. Resnick Community Learning Center in Akron will close this week after the district learned a parent had contact with Amber Vinson while she visited Northeast Ohio, the superintendent announced in a letter.
"Her child did NOT have contact with Ms. Vinson but has been quarantined as a precaution, with the mother and is being monitored by the health department," the letter reads.
Workers will clean the school, and it is expected to open Monday. In his letter, Superintendent David W. James said Summit County health officials have not notified the district of anyone else within the Akron public schools system who had contact with Vinson.
The letter calls the decision to close an "extreme, precautionary measure."
Summit County health officials are not recommending school closures, according to a fact sheet posted on the department's website. Rather, districts are deciding for themselves whether to cancel classes.
Solon’s school district canceled classes for the day at Solon Middle School and Parkside Elementary School – which occupy the same building.
District spokeswoman Tammy Strom said a teacher flew from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 14, the morning after Amber Vinson landed in Texas. Vinson later tested positive for Ebola.
“We had some unanswered questions about whether that was the same aircraft or not that we were unable to confirm through public health authorities,” Strom said. “And we just wanted to go one step beyond and be extra careful.”
The teacher will be on leave for about 20 days, Strom said, and workers cleaned the school building.
Before deciding to close the two schools, Strom said, district officials consulted with the Cuyahoga County health department and the Centers for Disease Control.
Health officials did not recommend closing the school, she said.
“They did not feel as if there was a risk there,” Strom said. “The feeling in the district was we wanted to err on the side of extreme caution.”
Ebola is transmitted only through contact with the body fluids of an infected person showing symptoms, experts say.
Strom said the district hopes to calm public fears over the virus.
“I think in situations like this, it’s always very difficult, because you’re dealing with parents and students,” she said. “And we always want to listen to what the public health authorities have to say. We work with them very closely all the time. But because this was so new, it went a step beyond for us.”
An elementary school teacher at Cranwood school may have had contact with Vinson, according to a statement from Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
But the school district did not cancel class. The teacher was sent home on leave, and workers disinfected the school building overnight.
“We have been assured by City Health Department officials that our students, families and staff are not at risk, but we nonetheless took a number of precautions to allay any concerns about safety at Cranwood School,” the statement reads in part.
The school building houses two high schools: E3agle Academy and the Problem-based Academy of Critical Thinking, or PACT.